I've just spent a long weekend in Graiguenamanagh, a tiny village on the Barrow river in County Kilkenny. I stayed at The Waterside, a lovely little B & B right on the river. It was three days of peace, and quiet, and walking the river.
When I arrived by bus on Friday I had only enough time to get settled and explore the village a bit. I made a visit to the local woollen mill--Cushendale Woollen Mill-- and the abbey. I visited Cushendale's on my first trip to Ireland three years ago, we were only in the village for a few hours that trip, but it was long enough that I was smitten with Graiguenamanagh. Really the whole village isn't more than a quarter of a mile from end to end.
While Graiguenamanagh is in County Kilkenny, most of my walking was done in County Carlow. The Barrow River is the border between the two counties, with Carlow on its eastern bank, and Kilkenny on the west. Each morning when I would walk I'd cross the bridge and follow the Tow Path on the Carlow side of the river.
On Saturday I walked 15k (9 miles) south along the river to the next village down stream--St. Mullins, a village founded around a monastery in the 7th century. I stopped for lunch along the river and then walked back to Graiguenamanagh. Mount Brandon, the highest point in County Kilkenny was in my sights the whole way. I saw great herons, cormorants, and for the first time in my life I saw a swan fly. Until now I'd only ever seen them bobbing casually like bouys or decoys. It's quite a spectacle to see one fly.
Today, Sunday, I headed North along the river with no particular destination. I ambled for about 4 miles before turning back. For this trek I had the beautiful Blackstairs in view in the distance. After a bit of lunch back in Graiguenamanagh I found a little trail through the woods and enjoyed a second short walk.
This evening I'll say my goodbyes to sweet little Graig. Tomorrow I catch an early bus back to Kilkenny City where I will stay put for another week.